Critical race theory should not be taught in schools

(Photo: Alamy)

Not everyone will be familiar with critical race theory's pyramid. But the fact that out is being taught in schools across the country has caused alarm, and not just among parents.

The sudden increases in the intensity of highly eroticised sex education stretching way down before the years of even puberty, has caused widespread distress to parents, and alarm to observers. But on top of that has come the realization of a highly politicised racial guilt trip based on critical race theory (CRT) that is being imposed on our children.

With reports that church schools have recently bought completely into this and are using a much criticised pyramid of white guilt model in their classrooms, they appear to have run scared and abandoned not only their responsibility for the children in their care but also dropped any defence of their own values.

Why does this matter so much?

The intention of the pyramid race model is to set up a narrative in history that details white oppression and sets out to establish the guilt not only of the white people who oppressed black people, but much worse, to make the children responsible for all the guilt that accumulates in the minds of race idéologues.

That this itself is a dreadful act of (inverted) racism is not an accusation that is allowed to stick. At the back of critical race theory is the notion of power. It's all about the redistribution of power (away from the white culture) and since, in this brave new world, racism is defined by one race abusing another, and in this view whites have only ever abused blacks, no black person can be accused of racism.

To any sane and unprejudiced observer this would seem to be 'Alice in Wonderland' partisan nonsense. But that's the foundation on which critical race theory is built. The ideas that underlie it run completely counter to Christian philosophy and values in a way that completely undermines and negates them.

It is doubly astonishing that this theory should be being imposed on children as fact in church schools. How is it possible that bishops, church leaders and educationalists are willing to abandon their own values and perspectives and surrender to a movement that stands for something opposite and, in the view of Christianity, quite destructive not only to the faith but to the Western civilisation that it is built on?

Central to Christianity is the insistence that guilt is a personal matter and cannot be inherited. In the teaching of the Christian faith there is certainly guilt and responsibility, but the genius of Christian teaching is that through a relationship with Christ, all guilt, of whatever kind gets removed. A change in behaviour (repentance) is fused with an absolution that is capable of transforming the human personality.

CRT on the other hand knows of no forgiveness, personal or corporate, and only of endless reparations. It seems that today anyone can be called a 'racist' without the slightest proof, and if you are called a racist it is almost impossible to defend yourself or come back from it.

Christianity believes in holding people to account for what they do, not for what they think. That's one of the reasons why democracy and freedom of speech have found Christian cultures such fertile ground to take root in. You could go as far to say that if the philosophical implications of CRT take hold in our society, they will produce a serious threat to both freedom of speech and democracy itself. CRT belongs to the Left and forms part of a progressive political programme that started with political correctness but has developed into full blown 'cancel culture'.

People need to be free to think and speak and act as a matter of personal conscience. And unless we insist on personal guilt which allows the permanent possibility of forgiveness, and repudiate collective guilt, we will find ourselves being driven ever more deeply into a dystopian future of soft totalitarianism; a prospect that appears to become more real with every passing day.

It should be pointed out that racism is already taboo among Christians, not because we are better than others, but because we follow a higher commandment that makes racism a fundamentally un-Christlike trait among those who truly follow Christ.

One of the essential planks on which Christianity is built is the commandment that follows loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving our neighbour as ourselves. Anyone taking this seriously and practising it, as Christians historically have tried to do, is not going to be able to get away with being prejudiced against their neighbour because of the shade of their skin. Any attempt to disadvantage the neighbour in Christian philosophy can and is held accountable for being a failure to love the neighbour.

In that way, Christianity has a built-in defence against racism. That doesn't mean people won't fail to practise the faith, but it does mean that they can be held accountable for that failure and as a matter of Christian integrity, be required to change.

All the studies of the last decades demonstrate that practising Christianity is good for mental health. The inculcation of trust and forgiveness, the significance of being created and loved by God, the gift of a life that has meaning flowing from being created, loved and forgiven, are in fact very good for you.

And yet the mental health of our children has never been more fragile or pressurised. The existence of this stark gap should suggest that church schools should be teaching the faith and not critical race theory which is steeped in guilt, revenge and collectivism.

We already know that forgiveness is healthier than revenge. The experience of the indiscriminate love of God is a recipe for better mental health than being told you are guilty for the colour of your skin. There is no forgiveness for historic racism and in the progressive catechism you bear the weight of guilt not only for yourself but for all the generations of your ancestors - without limit.

It is time that the Church, and especially its bishops, clergy and educators made a proper assessment of the implications of CRT not only philosophically but in terms of the spiritual and mental health of our children. In so doing they would be compelled to both repudiate and reject it, rather than allow for it to be taught as fact in our edification system.

Christians throughout our society have an obligation to shame our leaders into Christian values as opposed to adopting secular ones in order to curry favour with a hostile and increasingly soft totalitarianism.

The great advantage that church schools potentially have is that they can offer an education. The boot is now on the other foot. In ignorance the secularists used to accuse church schools of practising indoctrination. It was never true. But secular ideology is doing just that.

Church schools are not compelled (yet) to function as agencies of political and racial indoctrination. Instead they are still free to help train children to think and to choose. The clergy, Christian leaders and Christian educationalists ought to be less captive to the secular moral ethic that has made racism the number one social crime.

Gavin Ashenden is Associate Editor of the The Catholic Herald and a former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II.